A number of sailors aboard the USS Connecticut were injured in the crash, officials said. None of the injuries were life threatening, according to a statement from the US Pacific Fleet. It is not known what the Seawolf-class submarine may have struck while submerged.
“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. The nuclear propulsion plant and spaces of the USS Connecticut have not been affected and remain fully operational, ”the statement said. “The incident will be investigated. The US Navy did not say the incident occurred in the South China Sea, only that it occurred in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region.
Connecticut was operating in the waters around the South China Sea as the United States and its allies conducted a large multinational show of force in the region, known as the Carrier Strike Group 21. The current exercise saw ships from the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands, including three aircraft carriers, training in and around the area.
“We are very concerned about the provocative military activity of the PRC near Taiwan,” US Secretary of State Tony Blinken told reporters at a press conference in Paris on Wednesday, when asked about Chinese activity. “As we said, the activity is destabilizing. It risks miscalculation and has the potential to undermine regional peace and stability. We therefore strongly urge Beijing to end its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion directed against Taiwan. “
Taiwan warns China could invade by 2025
Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng on Wednesday said China could be read to launch a “full-scale” invasion of the island by 2025, adding that “it currently has the capacity” to attack, but that it should ”pay a price. “
The Biden administration has shifted the focus of US national security policy from the wars of the past two decades to Beijing, which has asserted itself in the region and on the world stage. On Thursday, the Central Intelligence Agency announced the creation of a new mission center for China following a multi-month review that found China to be the biggest long-term threat to the United States.
A day earlier, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met a senior Chinese official in Switzerland in what a senior administration official called “a frank, direct and wide-ranging discussion.”
The meeting, which the official said had a “different tone” from an acrimonious meeting between Sullivan and his Chinese counterpart six months ago, paved the way for a virtual meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year in order to ensure stability.
But the agreement in principle between the two leaders to meet did little to ease current friction in the region, nor did it ease friction around the South China Sea, where China has built a series of bases on reefs and man-made islands in the disputed waterway.
In response to a Wall Street Journal article about the presence of US troops in Taiwan, the Pentagon stressed its support for Taiwan and its defense needs.
“Our support and defense relationship with Taiwan remains aligned with the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China,” Pentagon spokesman John Supple said Thursday, accusing China of actions that “destabilize and increase the risk of calculation error ”.
As U.S.-China relations deteriorated, the State Department requested in June 2018 that U.S. Marines be sent to Taiwan to help protect the de facto U.S. embassy there. At the time, there were only 10 American soldiers in Taiwan, according to Department of Defense personnel records, and only one was with the Marine Corps, the branch of the military responsible for embassy security. . The number gradually increased to 19 soldiers two years later, before rising to 32 soldiers earlier this year, according to records. Likewise, the number of US troops in China has grown from 14 in 2018 to 55 now, the majority of whom are Marines.
“The United States’ defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act and based on an assessment of Taiwan’s defense needs and the threat posed by the PRC, as has been the case for over 40 years old, ”Supple said.
The comments are part of a series of growing rhetorical attacks between the two superpowers engaged in what Pentagon officials call “the great power competition.”
Earlier this week, China criticized the United States for what it called “irresponsible remarks” after the United States condemned Chinese military flights in Taiwan’s ADIZ. “In recent times, the United States has continued its negative actions by selling arms to Taiwan and strengthening its official military ties between the United States and Taiwan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua said. Chunying.